Thursday, June 09, 2005

Gitmo and Quran Abuse

Posted by Hello

But, the question is, do you condemn Arabs who "insult" the Quran? Do you condemn Muslims who "insult" the Quran?

Now that investigations into these charges are getting publicity, people are finally getting the truth, even if they do read Newsweek.

Charles Krauthammer writes:

The Pentagon reports (Brig. Gen. Jay Hood, May 26) – all these breathless "scoops" come from the U.S. government's own investigations of itself – that of 13 allegations of Koran abuse, five were substantiated, of which two were most likely accidental.

Let's understand what mishandling means. Under the rules later instituted by the Pentagon at Guantanamo, proper handling of the Koran means using two hands and wearing gloves when touching it. Which means that if any guard held the Koran with one hand or had neglected to put on gloves, this would be considered mishandling.

On the scale of human crimes, where, say, 10 is the killing of 2,752 innocent people in one day and 0 is jaywalking, this ranks as perhaps a 0.01.

Moreover, what were the Korans doing there in the first place? The very possibility of mishandling Korans arose because we gave them to each prisoner. What kind of crazy tolerance is this? Is there any other country that would give a prisoner precisely the religious text which that prisoner and those affiliated with him invoke to justify the slaughter of innocents? If the prisoners had to have reading material, I would have given them the book "Portraits 9/11/01" - vignettes of the lives of those massacred on Sept. 11.

Why this abjectness on our part? On the very day the braying mob in Pakistan demonstrated over the false Koran report in Newsweek, a suicide bomber blew up an Islamic shrine in Islamabad, destroying not just innocent men, women and children, but undoubtedly many Korans. Not a word of condemnation. No demonstrations.

Like I asked above, do they condemn Arabs who actually do damage the Quran? Do they condemn Muslems who really do destroy the Quran? How about those who blow up holy shrines and murder fellow innocent Muslims? Oh, yah, I forgot, murdering fellow Muslims is part of the Jihad.

So, what about these cases of "abuse"?

Max Boot, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, answers this question:

All the headlines about "Abuse of the Koran at Gitmo" are absolutely accurate. Brig. Gen. Jay Hood's internal investigation has uncovered some shocking incidents. On at least six occasions, Korans were ripped up. They were urinated on three times, and attempts were made to flush them down the toilet at least three other times.

Why aren't millions of Muslims rioting in response to these defilements? Because the perpetrators were prisoners, not guards. As John Hinderaker notes on, the most serious desecrations of the Koran at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility were committed by the Muslim inmates themselves.

Um, Mecca, we have a problem. Muslims are "insulting" the Quran, not the Americans. Well, the truth never seems to bother Islamists anyway so why should this be any different.

Ok, but there must have been some episodes of Americans "insulting" the Quran. Right? Well, sort of.

The worst lapse, splashed (so to speak) across front pages around the world, occurred March 25, when a guard urinated outside an air vent and some of his urine blew into a cell and onto an inmate and his Koran. Human rights absolutists should be relieved (sorry, can't help myself) to know that the detainee received a fresh uniform and a new Koran, and the guard was reprimanded and reassigned.

That's the most heinous case of Koran abuse by Gitmo personnel. The four other verified incidents involved an interrogator kicking a Koran, guards accidentally getting a Koran wet with water, an interrogator (subsequently fired) stepping on a Koran and a "two-word obscenity" mysteriously appearing on the inside cover of a Koran.

Some of the most inflammatory allegations, such as guards flushing a Koran, appear to be the result of unsubstantiated rumors spread by inmates who may have been following Al Qaeda instructions to falsely claim mistreatment. Or maybe they were simply trying to deflect blame for all the Korans they were mutilating on their own.

Maybe. But then they would have to condemn themselves. Can't do that in the middle of Jihad.

For his usual humorous and perceptive take on this, see Mark Steyn's latest. Here's a snippet:

And what was it the Pentagon ‘confirmed’? Only the shocking details of Operation Qu’ran Desecration ...hang on, make that Operation Koran Desecration; might as well start the old desecration programme by losing all those whacky apostrophes and flipping the bird to the PC spellcheck. Anyway, Operation Koran Desecration involved ‘urine’, a word the media fell upon like Sarah Miles in a desert. They broke out the bubbly, sang a couple of choruses of ‘Urine the Money’, and splashed the urine around the globe: ‘Gitmo Quran Was Splashed With Urine’ (Associated Press), ‘US Admits Urine-Tainted Koran’ (the Sunday Times of Australia). What happened was that some shaven-headed, bull-necked, Christian-fundamentalist psycho colonel at Guantanamo instituted a regime of mandatory micturition upon the detainees’ Korans; each guard would chug down a case of Bud, just to make sure every sura was sodden.

Er, actually, no. What really happened was that one guard left his observation post and went outside to relieve himself al fresco just as the sultry Caribbean breeze changed direction, resulting in a soupçon of urine being wafted back through an air vent and landing on the Koran and a detainee’s uniform. According to the Pentagon report, ‘The sergeant of the guard responded and immediately relieved the guard’ who’d relieved himself so carelessly. ‘The sergeant of the guard ensured the detainee received a fresh uniform and a new Qu’ran’ — or perhaps a new Q’u-’ran, now with added apostrophes for even greater cultural sensitivity! As for the rogue urinator, he was reprimanded and reassigned to gate duty where he could empty his bladder out of range of any buildings.

So the golden shower turned out to be a golden droplet — one droplet, one time. As leaks go, this isn’t exactly Deep Throat. Other than that drop in the ocean, the incidents of official ‘disrespect’ to the Koran at Guantanamo number under a handful, and none of them, even if one accepts that one can ‘torture’ a book, is entirely satisfactory as an example of the Great Satan’s brutality: in one case, some water balloons thrown by guards resulted in several Korans in the vicinity becoming moistened; in another, a civilian interrogator stepped on a Koran and immediately apologised, but got fired anyway. It’s a good thing he’s not one of those touchy secularists given to suing over public Nativity scenes each Christmas, because he’d have a much better case that the extraordinary deference officialdom now accords the Koran is in breach of the separation of Church and state.

But that’s not how Fleet Street saw it: ‘US admits Koran abuse at Cuba base’ (the Observer), ‘Guards kicked and stamped on Koran, US admits’ (the Independent on Sunday). In fact, the headline should have read: ‘Guantanamo Muslims desecrate their own Korans’. The same report that produced five instances of US ‘disrespect’ for the book also turned up 15 documented instances of ‘disrespect’ by detainees. ‘These included using a Quran as a pillow, ripping pages out of the Quran, attempting to flush a Quran down the toilet and urinating on the Quran’ — the full bladder, not just windborne droplets.

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